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Stoichkov accepts Celta challenge

Published: Wednesday 11 April 2007, 0.30CET
Hristo Stoichkov has been appointed coach of RC Celta de Vigo, replacing Fernando Vázquez with the task of helping the Spanish club avoid relegation.

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Published: Wednesday 11 April 2007, 0.30CET

Stoichkov accepts Celta challenge

Hristo Stoichkov has been appointed coach of RC Celta de Vigo, replacing Fernando Vázquez with the task of helping the Spanish club avoid relegation.

Hristo Stoichkov has been appointed coach of RC Celta de Vigo - replacing Fernando Vázquez who was dismissed earlier on Tuesday.

Bulgaria departure
The 41-year-old, who resigned as Bulgaria's national team boss on the same day, will take charge of a side in 18th place in the Spanish Primera División with just 27 points from 29 league games this season - a record which also reveals only one win in 14 home matches at their Balaídos Stadium. Sunday's 4-2 defeat at RC Recreativo de Huelva left Celta third from bottom and prompted the Galician club to sack Vázquez, who had guided them to promotion in 2004/05 and a sixth-placed finish last term. Celta also reached the UEFA Cup Round of 16, losing 3-0 on aggregate to Werder Bremen last month.

'Coming prepared'
"I am delighted to become the coach at Celta after a long time with the national team, and even more so because I know Spanish football so well," said Stoichkov. "I know Celta quite well and they have some great players. I am coming prepared and with the desire to move things forward. This will happen if there is self-sacrifice and a willingness to work hard every day. We are not going to let our heads drop because Celta are two points from safety - we have to think rationally and take things game by game."

Barcelona heyday
Stoichkov - whose debut will come at home to RC Deportivo La Coruña in Sunday's derby - is well acquainted with Spanish football having spent the most successful years of his glittering playing career at FC Barcelona. He helped the Catalans to four league titles, the 1997 Copa del Rey, the 1992 European Champion Clubs' Cup, the 1997 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Super Cup triumphs in 1992 and 1997.

National hero
The highlight of his international career - yielding 38 goals in 84 appearances - came at the 1994 FIFA World Cup where Stoichkov's six strikes helped his country to the semi-finals and made him the tournament's joint-top scorer. Having hung up his boots, he accepted the Bulgaria job after UEFA EURO 2004™ - his first head coaching role - and although he failed to gain 2006 World Cup qualification, the team lie third in UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying Group G, five points behind the Netherlands with a game in hand.

Last updated: 11/04/07 11.40CET

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